5 March 2014

An arty hooked rug

Designed by Ben Nicholson, "Slinky" was hooked by Joan Bravington about 1933. It measures 45" (115cm) square.

In a letter dated Sept 1 that "refers to the wool rug 'slinky ' that Joan Bravington made from a design by Ben Nicholson circa 1933 (lot 167 [of a sale at Christies in 2001] )", Nicholson writes -

"Dear Joan/Thanks for the blue/pattern. Don't know without seeing/the design & all the colours together I/can not tell. I am not coming back/for another week - why not take/them altogether along to Barbara/& shown them to her? if y ou're in any /hurry or if not I shall be back/about the 11th -/About the cost of material - I've/written EQ to ask if she'd work out/the length of time it's taken to work/her .. against the price to be asked/& cost of the materials./I've got several rugs being/made I don't want to fork out a pound/on materials for each. But we must/work it out so that it's fair to/the worker & the designer. I think/if I have to find a pound on each rug/it would pay me much better to/sell the designs outright(that's what/I've done in one case). It means I get/4 pounds or 5 pounds down instead of paying/out a pound & getting 5 pounds or 6 pounds eventually -/But EQ having worked her rug ought/to be able to tell fairly exactly what/proportion the weaver needs of her time./This place has a rather/dinky little port./I hope the new house is/getting on/from Ben"
"Ben and Slinky" by Winifred Nicholson, 1927 (via)
Slinky was the name of the dog Ben and Winifred Nicholson had in Cumbria. The rug is signed on the reverse - and sold in 2001 for £1,410. It was exhibited in a show at Pallant House, Chichester, in 1994 entitled "Artists and rugmakers" ... wonder what else was in that show?

The rug is part of the "Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol" show at the Fashion and Textile Museum, Bermondsey, London, till 17 May. The show includes about 200 pieces, and this is the only hooked one. I was surprised to see anything hooked at all.